The Rs 78,000 crore Indian apparel industry comprising Indian, western and ready to wear (RTW) segments may be registering a growth of about 20 per cent, but it’s the tiny Rs 2,400 crore T-shirt segment that seems to have caught the attention of major MNCs as well as the Indian corporate sector.
“Till a few years back, pricing was an issue in this category as most consumers were not ready to pay as much for a T-shirt as for a shirt. This mindset appears to be changing as many premium and super premium brands are the highest growing segments within the T-shirts category today,” says Baqar Naqvi manager (apparels) of retail consultancy KSA Technopak that conducted a survey for T-shirts.
The entry of some premium international brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Mango and others seem to have helped the Indian brands like Color Plus, Polo and Provogue to expand their market in the super premium and premium knits.
Today, T-shirts form a major part of people’s wardrobe and their market (for men and women) is projected to be about 77 million pieces valued at Rs 12.5 billion. The branded segment accounts for more than 50 per cent of the sales.
The survey considered two separate sub-categories in t-shirts segment — the activewear which people wear for their workout regimen and the casualwear which serves the purpose of informal clothing.
The survey showed that with the increasing awareness of health and fitness among consumers and the mushroom growth of fitness centres and gyms across the country, the activewear segment, a subset of the knit segment, will see a rapid growth.
The KSA survey, that covered a sample size of 2,697 respondents over a period of 3 to 4 months, studied the growth of the available brands and product consumption in different price ranges. According to the report, Nike is the market leader in the men’s activewear t-shirts segment followed by Reebok and Adidas in the top income groups.
In the casualwear segment, while the Lee brand is the king across the country, Duke appears to be the most popular brand in the wardrobe of the lowest income group of customers.
However, the top five brands for those earning more than Rs 1 lakh a month include Wills Sports, Lacoste, Allen Solly, Lee and Classic Polo in that order. Incidentally, the competition in the casualwear segment is stiff.
In the women’s section, Reebok is the top activewear brand among the lower income segment of consumers (Rs 15,000-25,000), Nike dominates the mid segment and Adidas is the favourite among the Rs 1 lakh plus income segment.
Interestingly, Benetton appears to be the most purchased casualwear brand in the north and west zones while Lee leads in the south and east zones.
Classic Polo emerged as the second most favourite casualwear t-shirt brand in south and west while Duke recorded greater demand and popularity in the north and east. Crocodile, Peter England, Levi’s, Proline and Lacoste happen to be the other favourites.
Going by the age-group preference, Nike is the most purchased activewear brand among the 18 to 25-year-olds, in the 36-45 years and 46-55 years category, but it’s Reebok for the 26-35 years age group. Adidas occupies the second slot among the mature 46-55 age group of responsents.
In the casualwear segment, Lee emerges as the hot favourite across all age groups of respondents. Duke is the next popular brand in the wardrobe of 18 to 45-year age group customers while Levi’s and Peter England find favour with the youngest 18-25 years age group.
The T-shirt survey, incidentally, is part of the larger apparel survey done by KSA Technopak to understand the market. “It is not a client-paid study. It is a part of our building the body of knowledge,” says the agency’s executive.
T-Shirts have a good scope for higher growth in the coming years. The study estimates that this year about 73 million people will go for T-shirt purchases.
According to a recent survey, it’s the 300-million strong Indian middle class, the real consumers, that is catching the attention of the world.
The number will grow to more than 520 million in the next five years. The biggest attraction of the Indian population, however, is its youthful demographics — more than 81 per cent of its population is below 45 years.